Kevin Durant Linked To Top Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Ouster In College Admissions Scandal
A photo with Kevin Durant has been linked to the ouster of Chris Schaepe, the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s top venture firms, over ties to the college admissions scandal that brought down celebrities Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman.
William “Rick” Singer, founder of college prep business Edge College & Career Network aka “The Key” collected $25 million from wealthy parents to get some students admitted to universities, according to authorities.
Schaepe, a founding partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners (LVP), got involved with Singer. Now he has lost his position at Lightspeed, a firm with $6 billion invested in tech startups.
In his blog, Singer posted a photo of Schaepe’s son with NBA star Kevin Durant, a University of Texas alum. A note attached to the photo says, “Hey Rick, I wanted to thank you personally for all your help getting me into the University of Texas in Austin, and for helping me secure a managers position with the UT basketball team.”
It was this photo that alerted authorities of Singer’s college bribery business and Schaepe’s involvement.
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Schaepe admitted that Singer helped get his son into college. He was released from LVP after he told partners of a “personal matter” that they worried could “interfere with firm operations,” a company spokeswoman said.
While Schaepe has not been charged in the federal investigation into the college admissions scam, his spokeswoman confirmed that Schaepe hired Singer, who has admitted using bribes and rigged test scores to get kids admitted into elite universities. The spokesperson claimed Schaepe’s dealings with Singer were aboveboard.
“Fifty people have been charged in the case, including dozens of parents, several college athletic coaches, school administrators and others who allegedly were on Singer’s illicit payroll,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
After pleading guilty to conspiring to commit racketeering, money laundering and other charges, Singer agreed to a plea deal.
In 2014, Schaepe and his wife hired Singer to help their son with the college admissions process and to find schools where the son could get a position as the manager of the basketball and football teams.
Singer told the Schaepes that the University of Texas at Austin would be a good fit and he “introduced” Schaepe to someone in the athletic department who promised they could make sure Schaepe’s son would be the basketball team’s manager, according to reports. That contact was fired, but a second Singer contact made it all happen.
In total, Schaepe paid Singer about $630,000 to Singer through cash and stock donations to a nonprofit foundation Singer created (which authorities say was a front).